Sometimes insurance is family.
From childhood, family is our first form of insurance. How we define family may be different for different cultures — it could include parents, grandparents, extended families, even villages or communities.
However family is perceived, they are the ones who provide basic needs and step in to take care of things when the unexpected happens early in life. In many cultures, families also provide us our first insurance policies. For example, children are generally covered by their parents’ health insurance and later auto insurance.
“In cultures such as Germany and the U.S., leaving your parents’ insurance means that you are entering adulthood and assuming responsibility for yourself. It’s a sign of leaving the protection of family.”
Our team members noted that in Germany, young people frequently “inherit” an approach to insurance from their parents, often choosing the same plans their parents held. In the U.S., children may continue to stay on parents’ health insurance and other insurance plans into their mid-20s.
In adulthood, insurance is often viewed as a way of maintaining independence through old age, sparing families the financial and time burden of your care. While self-sufficiency in old age is one motivator for insurance, another is protecting family members from unforeseen financial consequences if something unexpected were to happen at any point in your life. In all these instances, looking out for the needs of family are reasons driving the need for insurance.
“While that concept holds in many cultures, a team member recalls a very different experience while spending time in India. There, family is seen as a form of insurance that continues throughout your life — including old age.”
“During many conversations about marriage and having kids, people were usually confused when I told them that I might consider not having either. ‘Who will take care of you when you’re old?’ was the usual question I got. In India, your family is your insurance. In Germany, people want to take care for themselves and don’t want to be a burden to their families.”